HB1125 (2016) Detail

Requiring law enforcement officers to return stolen property.

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AN ACT\trequiring law enforcement officers to return stolen property.


SPONSORS:\tRep. Hoell, Merr. 23; Rep. Itse, Rock. 10; Rep. Ingbretson, Graf. 15; Rep. Abramson, Rock. 20; Rep. Jones, Straf. 24








\tThis bill requires the police to return certain stolen property within 48 hours of its recovery.


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Explanation:\tMatter added to current law appears in bold italics.

\t\tMatter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

\t\tMatter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen


AN ACT\trequiring law enforcement officers to return stolen property.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


\t1  Seizure, Custody and Disposition of Certain Articles Recovered After Theft.  Amend RSA 595-A:6 to read as follows:

\t595-A:6  Seizure, Custody and Disposition of Articles; Exceptions.

\t\tI.  If an officer in the execution of a search warrant, or by some other authorized method, finds property or articles he is empowered to take, he shall seize and safely keep them under the direction of the court or justice so long as necessary to permit them to be produced or used as evidence in any trial.  Upon application by a prosecutor, defendant, or civil claimants, the court, prior to trial or upon an appeal after trial, shall, upon notice to a defendant and hearing, and except for good cause shown, order returned to the rightful owners any stolen, embezzled or fraudulently obtained property, or any other property of evidential value, not constituting contraband.  This section shall apply regardless of how possession of the property was obtained by the state.  Photographs or other identification or analysis made of the returned property shall be admissible at trial as secondary evidence, in lieu of the originals, for all relevant purposes, including ownership.  In the case of unknown, unapprehended defendants, or defendants wilfully absent from the jurisdiction, the court shall have discretion to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the interest of such unknown or absent defendants.  The judicial findings on such matters as ownership, identification, chain of possession or value made at such an evidentiary hearing for the restoration of property to the rightful owners shall thereafter be admissible at trial, to be considered with other evidence on the same issues, if any, as may be admitted before the finder of fact.  All other property seized in execution of a search warrant or otherwise coming into the hands of the police shall be returned to the owner of the property, or shall be disposed of as the court or justice orders, which may include forfeiture and either sale or destruction as the public interest requires, in the discretion of the court or justice, and in accordance with due process of law.  Any property, the forfeiture and disposition of which is specified in any general or special law, shall be disposed of in accordance therewith.

\t\tII.  If property is lawfully seized or recovered after the commission of a crime of theft under RSA 637, burglary under RSA 635:1, or robbery under RSA 636:1 and such property is a communication or technological device such as a personal computer, telephone, or electronic tablet, such property shall be returned to its owner within 48 hours of its recovery.  If the police need more time to preserve evidence from such device or devices, the police shall request an extension of time from the property owner.  However, the property owner is under no legal obligation to grant such extension.

\t2  Effective Date.  This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.